John Gibbons Coverage


Lots of interesting reads over the last couple of days as the Blue Jays season is slowly going down the toilet. Should John Gibson be fired? Will he be fired? Who makes the call? Here we go:

Damien kicked off his coverage with a blog post:

“Still, the nice thing would be to bring back Gibbons, right?

Except it’s time for Beeston and Anthopoulos to stop being nice guys and deliver a winning ballclub after this underachieving catastrophe of a season.

Start being disliked around baseball if that’s what it takes. If they need an example to follow, look at Jim Popp with the Montreal Alouettes. He realized he’d made a terrible hire with Dan Hawkins and ended the experiment quickly after five games.”

Damien Cox then he had a good summary on Tuesday”

But a manager who was here before and didn’t win much, and then was inexplicably re-hired by a GM who seemed to be looking for a path of least resistance after the John Farrell debacle, has returned and hasn’t won.
Not all his fault. But the record is the record.
And it hasn’t just been the starting pitching. It’s been lazy, dumb baseball. Bad defensive baseball. Tons of strikeouts by players who won’t change their approach. An alarming number of passed balls. Idiotic baserunning. An inability to move runners along and even bunt. Players more focussed on Twitter criticism than improving their game. Hitters staring down teammates at third base for falling to score on short fly balls and thus denying the hitter an RBI.”

Cox had another column today:

“The Jays are in last place and Gibbons on most scorecards would rank fifth among managers in the five-team division, but that’s OK by Anthopoulos, who announced Tuesday that regardless of what happens the rest of this season, Gibbons will be back.
How ridiculous. The season has been horrible and might yet get worse, but Anthopoulos decided to make this announcement on Aug. 27 rather than waiting until season’s end and evaluating his options.”

Richard Griffin hit the nail on the head in his summation today:

“The bottom line is that it will be Rogers ownership that has the final say on who will manage the Jays in 2014.

If the power in the tower believes that bringing Gibbons back will be too costly in terms of selling the burgeoning Blue Jays brand across the country, if the anonymous people in charge feel that bringing the low-key Texan back as manager will hurt the product on the field and in the market-place, the decision could be taken out of Anthopoulos’ hands.”

Doug Smith chimed in today too:

“So what do we make of the pronouncement last night by Alex Anthopoulos that he’s sticking with John Gibbons next year come hell or high water or more Josh Johnson starts?


I’m fine with it.

I believe it’s a total knee-jerk reaction to suggest that, as bad as this season has been, the manager needs to be fired and I think Anthopoulos did exactly the right thing by coming out now fully in support of Gibby.

The issue, at least from this vantage point and I fully admit it’s from afar, is not managing, it’s personnel and that’s on the GM far more than its on the manager.”

Tom Maloney of the Globe and Mail:

“John Gibbons is an all-too-convenient symbol, rather than the underlying reason, for the Toronto Blue Jays’ woes this season, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said in announcing Gibbons will be brought back for the 2014 season.”

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun had a lengthy account of the disaster:

“Anthopoulos is, in fact, responsible for the calamity that has been this Jays’ season and, upon further review, it is his work that should be scrutinized before that of Gibbons. This is Anthopoulos’ fourth year on the job as general manager — as one of the hardest-working people in baseball — but this is, barring a final-month turnaround, the fourth consecutive year in which the Blue Jays will win fewer games than they managed the year before.

They won 85 his first year, 81 the second, 73 last season with John Farrell managing, and now this — where 73 wins seem like something of a long shot.”

Bob Elliott chimed in:

“Is Gibbons to blame? Partially.

So are the players.

So is general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who overhauled the roster.

Everyone is to blame.

Yet, the manager is the easiest to pin the blame on in baseball.

If the Jays fire Gibbons it will be four managers in five years: Gaston, John Farrell, Gibbons and the next guy.

And it’s two bad hires by the GM in three years: Farrell may win manager of the year in the American League, but giving a guy a three-year contract and his first managerial job and having him want to bolt after one year is a bad hire. Even if he stayed two years.”

Shi Davidi of

“In pledging that John Gibbons will be back as manager in 2014, Alex Anthopoulos clearly showed that he isn’t looking for any shortcuts, or settling for easy answers to fix his wayward Toronto Blue Jays.”

Dirk Hayhurst of :

“Farrell came to Boston before the major roster moves of his present club were made. Maddon got to oversee the entire rebuild of his Rays. Gibbons was, essentially, handed a team that was supposed to run itself, in an organization that was full of developers picked by someone else.

This leads me to postulate that Gibbons was selected as a Yes Man to the Anthopoulos’ super-tools team experiment. All these great players, all these incredible skills, all in one place. The Jays needed a skipper that could help them gel. Gibbons was it.

But the experiment has failed. The team, though talented, cannot police itself. It has gelled into a losing culture. Now, if anything, it needs a hard-ass to step in and rock the boat, but there is no incentive for Gibbons to play that role since it was never in his script, nor was it what he was cast do to.”

Israel Fehr of Yahoo offered an opinion:

“A winning culture is only as good as the players on the field.
Firing Gibbons would be incredibly short-sighted. It would be an emotional decision and sharp deviation from the plan and vision devised by general manager Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays front office this off-season.
Anthopoulos showed his commitment to Gibbons as his manager going forward by negotiating a contract that ensures that he would never be in position of only having one year left on his deal.”

Not that you care, but here’s my two cents. I am not a baseball stat guy. I don’t know what half the stats even mean let alone be able to quote them like Gord Stellick can tell you who the Maple Leafs drafted 9th in 1984. I am a fan. I like to watch the team. I couldn’t stand Gibbons the first time he was manager and I echoed my displeasure when he got rehired. That, to be honest isn’t based upon a whole from a statistically standpoint except for one thing; sports is a business and you either perform or you don’t. Managers and coaches are paid to get the best out of the rosters they are handed. They get fired each and every year for their inability to do that. Does he deserve to be fired? Is it all his fault? I don’t know. Most mangers, coaches don’t ever deserve to be fired. It’s always on the players. Either you win or you don’t.

I will tell you this. Beeston and Anthopolous are totally out of lives in my mind. What ever good will the sockless genius from the previous regime and the nice looking smiling brainy wonder kid GM had is gone. Their records, to quote judge Smeils.. SSSSSSucks. Injuries, poor performance…whatever. This is there team. This is there franchise. Attendance goes up and the number of wins goes down. True, all will be forgotten if they win soon. Does anyone believe these two can deliver? What happens if the ticket sales start to slide? Answer honestly, if you bought, and I mean reached into your own pocket and bought tickets this year, will you buy again next year?

I was a sucker this year. I paid for MLB at Bat. I watched most of the first @#$#@[email protected]! games of the season. I don’t think I’ll be buying again next season until way into it.

To me, the Anthopolous era can be summarized by all the times he’s said, “things have to get better, players can’t keep continuing to perform at this low a level”. Well, 1 year is a fluke. 2nd is a ??????

Time for the boy wonder to put up. He’s right he’s to blame. Question is will anyone hold him accountable?

The good news is there is passion for the team. Here in Seattle? Crickets.


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August 29, 2013 12:57 am

Gibbons deserves another year. AA inherited Gaston who was retiring at the end of that year (2010). They looked for, arguably at the time, the best baseball man they could find in John Farrell who didn’t really want to be here but that was relatively unknown in 2011 (the question to Farrell should have been – why take the job in the first place but that is another story) which led to Gibby. All in all the point being that AA never really had the man he wanted to manage this team. With all the injuries and inconsistencies in play, can Gibbons really be the man to blame for that in one season? Hardly. So…glad that Gibbons is back for another year but chances are that AA and Gibbons will be on a short leash in 2014. The sample won’t be deadlines of May 15, June 1, or July 1 or anything like that. It’ll probably be the first 10 games of the season.

August 29, 2013 1:03 am

Well, it’s tough.

I can’t really say AA did anything this offseason I thought was the wrong move at the time. In fact, I STILL think they were solid choices after all this, some of the players just didn’t perform. As for Gibby – I have no idea what he is like in the clubhouse, but I like his in game management fine.

Basically it came down to the starters. If Morrow and Johnson put up their 2012 numbers, I think this team fights for the 2nd WC. Instead they essentially got nothing from the two. Factor in a big step back from Dickey, and the rotation was truly bare.

I know everyone wants a scapegoat, but it really looks to me like it was a case of a few key players not performing.

On the bright side, there’s a nice core with Reyes, Bautista, EE, Lawrie as Rasmus that should stay good for a while. If they can make the starting pitching click, they should have more opportunities with this group.

August 29, 2013 1:20 am

Not sure we really still have to talk about attendance. I think the fan base acquitted itself pretty well this year, and really established they’ll come out if they think ownership is taking the team seriously.

Mike V
Mike V
August 29, 2013 7:03 am

Do we really need three(!!) different steams of ididocy from Cox to start off this piece, one would suffice. Actually, Stoeten at DJF (who should be included in this IMO) so thoroughly dismantled his arguement that he doesn’t need to be here at all.

As you can probably tell, I think Gibbons should be back.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
August 29, 2013 8:20 am

with so much quality content out there i’m not sure why anyone would care what the Star’s basketball and hockey guys think. I’m sure Damian Dimanno appreciates the links though.

in a 162 game season the overall performance is never the manager’s fault. There’s just too many at-bats and pitches that have nothing to do with the manager’s decisions. That said, there’s so many things wrong with this team’s performance that seem independent from talent: base running decisions, throwing to the right base, hitting the cut-off man, professionalism with umps …

Who the hell knows how many wins the Jays would have if they were a fundamentally sound team, but we can all agree they would be better. It’s plausible to me that the manager has some control over these things, and so that part of the W-L record falls on Gibbons. I never liked the hire (or the Dickey trade) — you’ve just spend millions upgrading the team, why bring in a guy who hasn’t managed in the big leagues since you fired him 3 years ago? His best credential was that AA liked him and was comfortable with him. That was a red flag for me.

When a team is this bad, I think you need an argument for keeping him, not an argument for firing him. Everyone failed this year, and the manager (and GM) are the one who can be held immediately accountable.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
August 29, 2013 12:47 pm

I think each player, manager, coach and GM have to carry the weight of such a massive fail. Its a team game – the whole team has $%^#$% up!

I think injury played a role, as it seems to in TO more often than not.

However, I do believe the culture within the team must change. I know we are not in the room, but the entitlement, the arguing with the refs, the joking around when down by 6 runs is all so completely inappropriate.

I think you will see one of the key core guys be traded for a starting pitcher. What will Joey Batt’s get on the open market these days?

That would gain the players attention rather quickly.

August 29, 2013 2:23 pm

Good call, Mike. Really couldn’t care less on what Cox thinks about baseball.

I second Stoetens DJF piece on the subject. I actually think Stoeten may be the best baseball writer in the city, in some respects. Doesn’t have the access or experience of Blair, Elliot or Griffin of course. But he’s really on the ball.

Richard Quan
Richard Quan
September 1, 2013 1:45 am

So far, this baseball year has been shaped by three disappointments. The first came with John Farrell’s departure and eventual success in Boston. AA’s first error was not to let him walk when first requested one year prior. If a guy doesn’t want to be here, let him go. First mistake: to cover up or be too proud to admit an error in hiring Farrell who wasn’t on the same page as advertised.

The second disappointment was the rehiring of Gibbons. There are so many sayings about how you can’t go home again; history repeating itself; or why settle? All these things apply. So you go out and find someone you are comfortable with; well you must have been comfortable to lose the first time around as well. Gibbons can’t be blamed for bringing the same winning attitude that he brought the first time around; the parallels are quite shocking really: broken down pitchers BJ Ryan/Josh Johnson et al,; poor defense; lack of motivation/interest. Yes it was the same winning attitude; poor.

The third disappointment came with the kind of talent that was brought to the team. Yes, I was excited just like most of the fans but AA must be held accountable for not adhering to the maxim caveat emptor. When you trade with losing teams, you should be asking why they lost in the first place. Florida and New York did not have stellar records the year before. In fact, the big signings by the Marlins the year before must be held accountable for the team’s record in some form or another. If the team chemistry did not work in Florida, why should it work in Toronto; a team that had a Manager who wanted out and certain players who already displayed selfish play.

Ultimately, I truly believe that some of the acquisitions did not and do not want to play in Toronto or florida before now. Farrell didn’t become a genius all of a sudden; his control of a clubhouse didn’t suddenly improve in Boston as illustrated by the recent Demster bean-ball incident. The only difference is that Boston breathes baseball and it’s fans hold the team accountable for poor play and poor management. In Toronto, baseball season like the CNE or Centre Island is an attraction that opens in April and closes at the end of September complete with cartoon characters who perform for us daily and with all the fans being taken on one big ride.

I guess my disappointment shows!

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